WORLD MOUNTED GAMES CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN IN NORMANDY
- 20 August 2014, 17:56
World Mounted Games Team Championships 2014
Normandy, France 20th-24th August
Two Irish Mounted Games Teams will take part in the 2014 World Mounted Games Team Championships in Gisors, Normandy, France this week. The opening ceremony takes place on Tuesday with the championships kicking off on Wednesday 20th August and running until Sunday 24th August.
The Open Irish Mounted Games Team comprises current European Individual Mounted Games Champion Alan Keogan, Craig O’Connor, Kate O’Connor, Jake O’Connor and Jamie Reavey. Kate, Craig and Jake were on the Irish MGA Team that won the Open European Championships in Belgium last month. The Junior Irish Mounted Games Team is made up of Peter McCarthy, Phillip Weldon, Graham Beirne, Niall Hughes and Andrew Devitt. This is the first time U17s have featured in this competition. You can see profiles of each rider on both teams here.
You can follow all the action and watch the World Mounted Games Team Championships from 20th to 24th August through free live streaming video at http://www.wtc2014.fr/en/live
WORLD MOUNTED GAMES – IRISH TEAM PROFILES
Open Irish Mounted Games Team Profiles
Alan is 22 and from Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. Although graduated as an Engineer, Alan spends his time training horses, competing in Mounted Games, hunting with the Ballymacad Fox Hounds and farming. Alan began games with the Meath Pony Club when he was 11 and has gone on to win the Junior and Senior Championships with the club, winning the Leonard Trophy in the RDS on three separate occasions. He has also competed on various international teams at the Royal Bath and West Show and the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Alan is the current European Individual Mounted Games Champion, a title he has held for three out of the last four years, coming third in 2012. Alan rides for the Bedfordshire Yellow team in England along with fellow teammates Craig O’Connor and Jake O’Connor. While Alan has trained several ponies for games, it is his 13.2, 9 year old Arab/Connemara mare Nessa who will be his mount for the World Championships. Alan trained Nessa from unbroken to European Individual Champion in less than a year in 2011 and has been his pony of choice ever since.
Craig is 23 and is from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. He has just completed his degree in Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering at UCC. Craig started games at Pony Club representing Tipperary Pony Club where he won both Junior (U13) and Senior (U16) games championships. He joined MGA at an early age and, together with his cousin Jake, they won the U15 Welsh Championships and finished third in the World Junior Pairs Championships. They played Open (over 17) as a Kildare team originally and later as Bedfordshire Yellow where they have dominated the MGAGB competitions for the last two years. Individually Craig has been second in the European (2012) and World (2014) Individual Championships and he has been placed in the World Pairs Championships three times with different partners. Since moving up to opens, he has represented his country every year, winning the World Team Championships in 2010 in Geneva and coming second in Denmark in 2011. He was also on the winning European Championship team along with Mark Devitt and his cousins Jake and Ben.
Kate is 20 and is from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. She is studying Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick. She has been riding her pony Hammer since she was ten years old when she rode for Tipperary Pony Club. She won the Junior (U13) Pony Club Games Championships and was second in the RDS three times at Senior (U16) level. She joined MGA and rode for the English team Bedfordshire where she won the British Team Junior (U17) Championships, was second twice in the Junior World Pairs Championship and fourth in the Individual World Junior Championships. She also represented her country at Junior level where she was second at the European Championships in 2011. Since moving up to Open (over 17) level she has ridden for Bedfordshire White and Buckinghamshire where she was third in the World Pairs Open Championships in 2013 and was the highest placed girl in the Individuals last year. She was second last week in the British Championships 2014. The pinnacle of her games career was the win at the European Championships in Belgium last month. Along with her brother (Craig) and cousin (Jake) she hopes to repeat the success.
Jake is 22 and is from Naas, Co. Kildare. He is in his final year at DIT Bolton Street where he is studying Building Services Engineering. He first competed in Mounted Games while he was a member of Kildare Pony Club where he rode at junior and senior level and enjoyed taking part in all disciplines. He won the Red Mills Intermediate Eventing League and, along with his brother Ben, won the Hunter Trial Championships. He joined the Mounted Games Association in 2004 and his first trip abroad was to Builth Wells in Wales to take part in the Welsh Championships. In 2006 he was a member of the team that won the U15 section of the Welsh Championships. Jake first represented Ireland in 2009 in Southampton where they were fourth and again in 2010 when they won the World Championships in Geneva. The following year they were runners-up in Denmark and third in Wales in 2012. In 2013 he won the British Team Championships as a member of the Bedfordshire team and also won the British Individual Championships. Last month Jake was fourth in the World Individual Championships and, along with his brother Ben, cousins Craig and Kate and Mark Devitt, became the first Irish team to win a European Open Title. This has all been achieved riding his brilliant pony Chico, a Connemara/Thoroughbred who he trained himself from a four year old.
Jamie is 17 and is from Newbliss, Co. Monaghan. He has just completed his Leaving Cert. and hopes to gain a place in the University of Limerick to study Equine Science. He began games in 2009 with the Monaghan Branch of the Irish Pony Club. In his first year Jamie trained up a novice pony over the winter for the international pony club team trials in January and got picked for the Royal Windsor Horse Show (the top team). He has also competed in the RDS (Senior Pony Club Championship Final) for three years in succession. In 2011, Jamie joined the Mounted Games Association (MGA) and has been on the Bedfordshire Gold Team in England for the last two years. In only his first year at Open Level he has qualified for the Irish Team. Jamie also plays Gaelic Football for his local club Killeevan at minor level.
Junior Irish Mounted Games Team Profiles
Peter is a 16 year old student at Naas CBS and is from Eadestown, Naas, Co. Kildare. He has been playing Mounted Games for 8 years, having been introduced to the sport in Kildare Hunt Pony Club. Peter is a keen horseman and enjoys bringing on ponies. He competes on his pony Buddy and together they have enjoyed huge success in all pony club disciplines. Peter was on the Irish Pony Club Team that won the international pony club games competition in Windsor in 2012. He joined MGA Ireland in 2011 and has played with Bedfordshire in England for the past two seasons. They are British Inter County Champions for 2013 and 2014. Peter, along with his teammates, won the European Championships in 2013. This year Peter won the British Pairs and is current U17 World Individual Champion.
Phillip is a 16 year old student at Belvedere College and lives in Tara, Co. Meath. He is a member of Meath Hunt Pony Club and is a keen horseman who enjoys training and bringing on ponies and horses to compete in all disciplines. Phillip competes on his pony Blondie with whom he has enjoyed great success over many years. They were junior hunter trial champions in 2010 and were on the Meath team that won the Leonard Trophy for games in the RDS 2011, and along with his team mates won the pony club international games competition in Windsor in 2012. He was also a member on the Irish MGA U17 team to win the European Championships in 2013. This season he has played with Bedfordshire U17 team, recently winning the Welsh Championships and British Inter County Championships. Phillip is a keen racing fan and was presented with the Martin Willis Trust U19 Creative Writing award.
Graham is a 16 year old student at Salesian College, Celbridge and lives in Donadea, Co. Kildare. He is a member of Kildare Hunt Pony Club and recently competed in the RDS Pony Club Games competition, coming second in a hard fought battle with Monaghan. Graham competes on his pony Sprite and was part of the winning U17 European Championships team in 2013. He is also a keen hurling and football enthusiast and is a member of Coill Dubh HC and St Kevin GFC.
Niall is a 15 year old student at St Macartan’s College and is from Castleshane, Co. Monaghan. His main hobby is pony games which he plays with Monaghan Pony Club. He had a well-deserved win recently in the RDS Pony Games Championships, taking the Leonard Trophy home. Niall has competed in Windsor twice and was also part of the successful 2012 winning team. He also participated with the U17 team to win the European Championships in 2013. His pony is Fire. Niall is a farming enthusiast and likes working with his Dad.
Andrew is a 16 year old student at Heywood Community School in Ballinakill, Co. Laois. He is from Timahoe, Co. Laois where he plays hurling and football. He is a member of Laois Pony Club and plays U19 Pony Club Games. His pony is Buttons. Andrew, along with the others, won at the International Pony Club Windsor competition in 2012. He joined MGA in 2010 and was part of the Irish team to win the U17 European Team Championships and Northern Ireland Team Championships in 2013. He also plays with Monmouthshire in England, who were Reserve Inter County Champions in 2013.